BERLIN- The action at Ocean Downs got hotter this week with a new track record in the mile-pace for aged mares and a near track record in the mile by any horse of any age, both of which occurred on Sunday.
It started with Anastasia Hanover, a four-year-old Hanover Badlands mare, setting a new track record for aged mares in the mile-pace with a 1:54:3 trip around the Ocean Downs oval. Tony Morgan, last year’s Harness Tracks of America Driver of the Year, was in the bike behind Anastasia Hanover for the record breaking run. Anastasia Hanover has now started ten races in 2007 and finished in the money each time including six wins at Dover Downs, Harrington and now Ocean Downs.
Morgan was involved in a second near record at Ocean Downs on Sunday for a different reason. Last year, Morgan drove the then six-year-old Night Mystery to the overall Ocean Downs record in the mile pace, completing the trip in 1:51.1. On Sunday, after already setting the track record behind Anastasia Hanover, Morgan was behind Night Mystery again with a chance to break his own course record in the mile, but it was six-year-old Real Art that stole the show.
Real Art, with Victor Kirby in the bike, nearly beat the record set last year by Night Mystery, tearing around the course in an eye-popping 1:52.4, the second fastest time ever recorded in the 59-year history of Ocean Downs. Real Art has now won two in a row and four for the year in 17 starts.
In other news last week, Raymond “Shorty” Robinson, Jr. continued to pull away from the rest of the drivers on the circuit, collecting more wins to pad his total to 16 after the first ten days of racing at Ocean Downs this summer. Robinson drove his old favorite, Wynnfield Flash, to the gelding’s third straight overall victory and second straight at Ocean Downs. Charles Perry, Jr. is now in second place in the driver’s standings with nine wins on the season after collecting three more wins last weekend.
Only one horse has collected four wins at Ocean Downs so far this summer after the first 10 days of the live meet. Five-year-old Cheap Skate came in second in a race on opening night on June 17 but has since rolled to four straight wins.
After pausing for the Ocean Pines Fourth of July fireworks display on Wednesday, live racing resumed at Ocean Downs last night. For the rest of the season the live meet will be held on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday through August 25. As always, admission and parking are free. Ocean Downs also offers simulcasting daily from some of the top tracks in the country.